Raman lidar remote sensing of geophysical media

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Abstract

Lidars are equipment, consisting of a laser and a photo-receiver, that measures the backward scattering of light. They appeared in the 1960s (Fiocco and Smullin, 1963), i.e., immediately after the invention of the laser, and since then they have been actively used in the problems of natural media monitoring. Lidars are of great use in providing atmosphere and ocean pollution control, in control of atmospheric gases, and in measuring meteorological and climate characteristics. Generation of a beam of high power and small angular divergence makes the great advantage of lidars over projector sounding, having existed before. The possibility of accurate wavelength tuning, as well as spectral return measuring, allows the determination of the chemical composition of the atmosphere and the biochemical composition of the ocean. Thanks to the measurement of scattered light polarization degree one can learn about the shape of scatterers. Furthermore, as lasers are able to generate powerful pulses of short duration, there appears the possibility of measuring time-dependent returns, i.e., measuring not only the integral optical characteristics of a medium, but also their spatial distribution. These features made lidars a powerful tool in the investigation of geophysical media.